I would like to start by acknowledging that this has been a difficult week as we watch the events unfold south of the border. In the flood of responses I’ve seen in the last week, I struggle to find a meaningful way to address our community without sounding trite.
We have seen images of police violence against black men and women in the killing of George Floyd and in the response to protests that followed. And in our own city we are mourning the loss of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, around whose death we have many questions that need to be answered.
Micro-aggressions, prejudice and violence are a lived reality for far too many people in our country. As a community member and your Member of Parliament, I recognize that there is still much work to be done in Canada to end the systemic discrimination against people of colour. While I do not have all of the answers, I will continue to listen, learn and stand as an ally for those who share their lived experience of anti-Black racism and discrimination.
June 1st marks the beginning of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, which has its origins in the response to a police raid in 1969. Pride Month is a time to support LGBTQ+ activism as well as a time for celebration. This year due to COVID-19 Pride Toronto is going virtual. Find out more about the many innovative ways Toronto is celebrating Pride this year online at Virtual Pride 2020.
Federal Updates: An Advance on Federal Funding to our City
Our City, and municipalities across our country, have clearly stated that they will require support from provinces and our federal government to meet the increased costs and the loss of revenues they have faced due to the pandemic.
I have had the opportunity to talk with Mayor Tory about our city’s needs, and strongly support having our federal government, along with our province, provide further funding to Toronto to help pay for our transit, housing, and green infrastructure needs.
As a first step, our government is advancing funds from the Federal Gas Tax Fund to provide some immediate relief to our cities. This funding can be used for cities’ usual infrastructure costs and costs related to COVID-19. This money would usually be a two-time transfer made from the Federal Gas Tax Fund, but in light of COVID-19 municipalities will be receiving the full 2020-2021 payment at once. There is more to do, and I am working with our government to support our city. You can read more here.
Thank you for joining me during my Facebook Live weekly check-ins. Last week we had an informative conversation with Lisa Gue about Canada Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) reform. If you missed it, you can watch it here.
Tune in this week to my Facebook Live, where you can Ask Me Anything. Please tune in to ask me questions you may have about COVID-19, federal programs and anything else.
Know you can’t make it but want to ask a question? Simply reply to this e-mail with the subject line “Facebook Live Question” and we will get to it during the check-in.
Virtual Civics Class
This Friday is my virtual Civics class. I’d like to invite students and their parents to take part in a special Facebook Live Civics Class on Friday, June 5th, 11-11:30am. I will be talking about our different orders of government and how young people can become involved in the community. It will be aimed at the grade 5-6 level but all ages are welcome. Please click here to get a reminder.
I will be taking questions during the session but feel free to submit your questions early by emailing Julie.Dabrusin@parl.gc.ca with the subject: Facebook Live Civics.
Neighbourhood Snapshots: Local Heroes
This week I would like to give a shout out to our graduates. Over the past week we have seen signs on lawns, posts on social media, and teachers touring around to cheer for our 2020 graduates. Congratulations on your graduation! We might not be able to squeeze into school gyms and auditoriums to celebrate, but know that we are all very proud of our graduates and can’t wait to see what you accomplish in your future.
I wanted to let you know that our Local Hero, Lisa Tancré, that we noted a few weeks ago is looking for more materials to keep sewing masks for Michael Garron Hospital. If anyone is able to donate materials, please drop them off at Chartwell Avondale Retirement Residence (1238 Queen St E, at Leslie). Chartwell asks that materials be dropped off anytime between 8:00am and 8:00pm; they will have a screener at reception who will accept the package and disinfect the contents before bringing to Lisa’s apartment.
South Riverdale Health Centre: Items Needed
South Riverdale needs gently used or new donations to help people who have been recently housed in temporary housing. Please see the list below and contact Zoe Dodd at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for drop off.
Please stay well and contact my office if you have any questions or concerns.